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Battlefield 4 Single Player Review (PC)

Battlefield 4 has always been a multiplayer game and as is evident from our multiplayer review, the true colours of the game shine through.

You do however, get gamers who will expect something great when paying a premium for new games these days and DICE has offered a single player campaign in the game that seems much farther ahead than previous Battlefield attempts.

The “military shooter” as it were, has come a long way in terms of single player action storyline and Battlefield 4 is no different. You will be thrown into a mix of emotional rollercoasters, betrayal, tears, fears and anger. Most of it though, is pretty clichéd and by this time, quite over-used. As a part of Tombstone squad, your stereotypical team of AI-controlled friends will battle a number of faceless enemies to take down the super powers that threaten the USA. That’s not to say that the game itself is unimaginative, but it just feels like it’s all been done before.

One thing that BF4 does do though, is allow players to carve their way through enemy lines while trying out new things by unlocking weapons as you go. A kill will net you a few points, while a headshot will net you a couple more giving you unlocks throughout the game as you go and allowing you to change your weapon loadout as you progress, from the scattered weapons crates lying around in each stretch of a mission. Another thing it may do, is train you for the multiplayer, so while it may seem like something the average hardcore gamer wouldn’t touch, it may be worth it to learn an extra thing or two.

Fighting your way through Battlefield 4’s campaign will see you focus on many of the things DICE wants you to see. The “levolution” throughout the game will be something of a main focus and while things may collapse right before your very eyes, the technology is used in many ways that will turn your average shooter into a better one. Thankfully, a large chunk of the Quick Time Events (QTE) have disappeared but still keep the interactive bit going by allowing you to take control in certain heated moments. As the on-the-rails shooter progresses, you can imagine that there are a lot of these moments as you are helpless to avoid them and need to be witness to each one in order to capture the full essence of what the design team is throwing at you.

While the effort being made to ensure it’s an interactive experience is appreciated, it’s quite unnecessary as DICE has seemed to throw every cliché and the kitchen sink at you from the very beginning. That’s not to mention how scripted the squad mates are because there always seems to be the betrayal, the loose-cannon, the shy, moral compass, and the leadership quality of a silent protagonist. It all seems a little too forced for my liking.

While the single player does look fantastic in many different ways, I can’t help but feel that the single player has been added as more of an afterthought. And hey, who cares if the multiplayer is as good as it is? It’s just a way for DICE to add some extra meat to the game and to be fair; most people should be praising it. I often came across a few bugs in the campaign, my favourite, was this huge blast going off and being thrown back, only to be tossed through a wall where the door was now locked as we went into the next “section” of the on-the-rails shooter. This left me sitting alone in a room while my squad waited patiently for me to reload from the last checkpoint.

The squad has this new function that will allow gamers to issue them with orders and it feels a little funny to be quite honest. A press of a button will have them firing on enemies, not exactly orders, but as a clean-up crew, they should probably have been doing that from the start. I’m more than happy to tell them when and where to shoot as long as there is a purpose because if I was planning to sneak around and infiltrate silently, I might have tried my luck with a silenced weapon, otherwise my squad should probably have just shot on sight. The enemy AI is actually quite impressive and aside from them not taking cover properly a little too often, they seem to be on point. They don’t shoot at you just because you are there and they can be tricked if you play it right. The enemy can easily be flanked as long as you are somewhat quiet and once you reveal yourself; a lot of them will turn round and start blasting you with weaponry. I liked that aspect of the game and really appreciated the way the game rewarded smart play.

So we stand at the end of a single player analysis and now need to look at the important questions that many gamers will ask of it. First and foremost, yes, it’s a lot better than the single player campaign in Battlefield 3. It’s really not on the same level as some other military shooters but again, the main focus on BF4 is on the multiplayer. If you plan to get BF4 for the multiplayer, then you will not be disappointed at all but banking on the single player keeping you entertained for hours is a mistake. There are seven different missions that can take anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour to complete depending on how proficient you are with a mouse.

DICE takes a reasonably good stab at a single player campaign. It’s nothing ground-breaking and the cliché-filled storyline will need a lot of work before it’s up there with the best. It’s a nice little training exercise for those new to the multiplayer though and it’s a great showcase to show us all the fancy new Frostbite 3 engine. The game is worth a play-through though, but perhaps not something that you should focus on when looking at buying the title. Battlefield has always been a multiplayer game and Battlefield 4 is no different.

Score: 65 / 100

Rob 'GrIdL0cK' Clegg has been in the gaming industry for over 15 years and has competed in both local and international tournaments at the highest level. He is also a respected gaming critic and is Telkom Do Gaming’s editor and lead reviewer.

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